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Denver Broncos Postgame Transcripts 12/18

Denver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak and select players comment on their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, December 18, 2016.


*On an injury update *
"The guys we're concerned about; [TE] Virgil [Green] is being evaluated and is in [concussion] protocol. [DE] Derek Wolfe has a neck issue. It's something he's dealt with before. We'll see where he's at tomorrow."

On not using a timeout at the end of the first half
"We were concerned that we might be backed up because of where they were. They had two timeouts and we were getting the ball coming out of the second half. We were moving the ball extremely well and we were in a one-possession game. We definitely didn't want to give it back to them. That was the thought process."

*On using WR Jordan Norwood to return punts *
"What we did offensively today, I wanted Jordan up. That was my decision. Jordan plays in three-wide sets for us and does a good job. Jordan has done a lot of good things around here for this football team. We were doing a lot of no huddle and a lot of stuff like that. That's why he was up."

*On the playoff scenarios *
"I don't know what the scenarios are. I know one thing, we need to win. Losing this game hurts and there is a lot of people crowded at the top. I can't sit here and tell you what all the scenarios are, but if we don't find a way to win 10 games, we're not going to have an opportunity. We all understand that. We've all understood that from the get go."

*On the success of the run game at the beginning of the game *
"I have to go look at it, but we moved the ball extremely well in the first half and if we catch a ball in the second half, I think we move the ball some more. We had about four or five balls that we need to make plays on. The first third down of the second half, we're fixing to be at the 40-yard line. We had some big drops in the game that could have been the difference in us continuing to move the ball late in the second quarter and the third quarter. We didn't make them."

*On QB Trevor Siemian's interception in the second quarter *
"They had 150 yards in the first half. We had a lot of ball movement, but when you look up on the board, there were only three points there. They turned that into a touchdown. That's a 14-point swing in a lot of ways. That's the way they play. You better find a way to play well in the red zone. Whether you move the ball or not, you have to find a way to be successful down there. We didn't do that."

On holding Patriots QB Tom Brady to 188 yards passing
"Well we held them to 16 points, you have to feel good about that. That's a high-powered group. They put points on the board and ever since he's been back, there have been a lot of points put on the board. Our defense played tremendous and held them to 16. The disappointing thing is, we had some ball movement, but could have had a lot more ball movement if we make about four or five more plays."

On Norwood's performance today
"I believe in players. All players battle their tails off. He made some mistakes. He's also made a lot of plays for this football team. I believe in people. I keep encouraging them to do their job and battle. It's a hard game. He doesn't want to go out there and make a mistake. He wants to go out there and make plays. He's done that for this team many times over."


*On his interception  *
"Yeah I can't make that mistake; it just hurts us. Moving the ball really well and don't get any points to show for it and just give [the ball] to them. Not a lot of margin of error down there. Can't make that mistake for us." 

*On what he saw on the interception he threw *
"[WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] went on that route, I just left it behind him. The guy made a good play." 

*On needing to beat Kansas City next week *
"We got to beat Kansas City. Our team has a lot of grit. We're up for the challenge. We're already looking forward to next week."

*On being frustrated he was with the offenses' performance  *
"Frustrating no doubt. Especially earlier on when we were moving the ball really well and have no points to show for it. A lot of that's on me. Missed a couple opportunities to get us points early on, and that comes back to haunt you for sure." 

*On the interception *
"Yeah I just left it behind him. Emmanuel ran a good route, I left it behind him. The guy made a good play from New England."


On the team's mindset for the final two regular season games
"Every game is do-or-die. We're playing these games like they're playoff games and now that just intensifies. We have to come ready to play because we know that the Chiefs and Raiders will [be ready]. We just have to come ready to play our best game."

On whether he is frustrated with the loss
"Yes, I'm frustrated overall, [but] not at any one group. I think everybody could have played better in order to get this win."

On the team scoring three points
"It's a team sport. We could have gotten a pick-six and take to the house to change the game. We could have forced a fumble and picked it up to take it to the house to change the game and we didn't. This is just as much on us as it is on them."

*On needing to make a big play on defense  *
"That was definitely our goal going into the second half. We definitely felt like we needed to make a big play and change the momentum of the game. We just weren't able to get it done like we wanted to."

On the playoff push
"I feel like there are areas to improve. We just have to continue to work and continue to get better. We have two huge games against us. Our fate is still in our hands."


On the three turnovers impacting the offensive flow
"We had some turnovers and [we were] not executing on third down to get more plays. That didn't help us at all. We have to do a better job at executing."

On the third-down offense
"We just have to have a better sense of urgency on third down and be able to execute. We have to block better, run better and catch better in those situations. Then we'll be able to run the ball more and longer drives."

On the personnel on offense
"The pieces are there. We just have to get it together. We have to get on the same page, but the talent is there. I've been on a lot of teams in this league [and] we have what we need. We just have to execute."

*On the team's mindset *
"We just have to control what we can control and remember that we're a family and a team. The only way that we're going to be successful is that we're doing it together. Those are things that you try to echo throughout the locker room and you try to encourage people. I don't think that we have a problem with that. We just have to make plays."

*On the running game supporting the passing game in the first quarter *
"I think we started off with the run in the first play of the game that opened it up. I think it goes back for us that we just have to execute more and extend drives and score in the red zone when we have the opportunities. Then everything opens up."

On how the offense can produce points
"Like I said earlier, executing on all of those situations like on third down, in the red zone and being able to finish drives. Those things we have to be able to do better in order to win games, but the talent is there [and] the receivers are there. We have a great quarterback. The running game is coming along. I've been with a lot worse in this league and this is a great team."


On the Broncos frustrations at this point in the season
"Any time you lose a game to the Patriots or a rival game, everybody is frustrated. We feel like we played almost good enough defense to win that game. I don't know if I've ever kept [Patriots QB Tom] Brady under 16 points, and we did that today."

On if losing hurts more after limiting the Patriots to just 16 points
"That's what makes it sick, when we come out and play stout like we did today. We could've played a little bit better, try to get some turnovers, but they didn't really have to take a lot of chances. They didn't really have to throw the ball down the field a lot. It's hard to make plays when we don't get that many targets."

On the Broncos' offensive struggles
"It's definitely hard, but we've got great coaches to be able to keep everybody on the same page. Even the leaders, we're going to keep fighting. We've got two weeks left to give it our all and see what happens."

On if the Broncos are in desperation mode over the final two weeks
"We've been in desperation mode since [Week 10 against] the Saints. We're just losing."


*On what was going through his mind after the game *
"A lot. It's just a tough loss. You've got to gather your thoughts. You never want to just jump to conclusions, so I was just thinking about stuff, thinking about the game, thinking about what I could've done better. There's a lot that I could've done better to help my team win. I've done it before. I just wasn't able to get it done tonight, and it's just a tough one; a tough loss."

On whether there was more the Broncos defense could've done
"Yeah, we've done it before. Whether it's [Broncos CB Aqib Talib] with the interception or me with the sack-forced fumble-strip – that's the type of defense that we play. I like to talk about quarterbacks and offense, but I really don't know that much. I really can't comment on the other side. But for us we played good, but there was more that we could've done to get the win."

*On the Broncos leaders keeping the team together *
"There's not going to be any friction. I'm the partition here. There's not going any friction. It's just a tough loss. You've got grown men in here. It's hard to accept it, especially after you put so much in during the week, and knowing what this game means to us and our organization and our fans. It's just a tough loss, a tough one to swallow. But we'll get over it. We've got two big games left and I'm not going anywhere. I'll be ready to go. We've got two big games left, and who knows what can happen."

On how concerned he is about making the playoffs at this point
"I'm not even really thinking about the playoffs. I'm thinking about going to play Kansas City. They had a tough one in K.C., and we're going to have a tough one on Christmas there. I'm not really thinking about the playoffs. All we can do is take it one play at a time, one game at a time, and whatever happens, happens."

*On the team only scoring three points *
"I'm not looking at the three. I'm looking at the 16. The 16 is more than three, so we lost. It's a team effort, no matter how you slice it. It's not the play calls. It's not the coaches. It's not the front office. It's us. We're the ones on the football field. We've got to make it happen. We've just got to do it. Forty-five minutes after the game, I really don't have too much information, but what I take away from the game is we've got to do more. We've got to do more on defense, and I know it sounds tough, but we've done it before and we can do it again."

On if he's surprised the Broncos are 8-6 at this point in the season
"I would like to be undefeated. That's what I would like to be, but we're 8-6. We've got to just keep playing. We've got great character guys, high-character guys in this locker room and high-character guys in the front office. We've just got to get it done. It's a tough spot. Adversity always reveals character, every single time. We've got high-character guys in our locker room, so I wouldn't expect nothing from all of us [but] to just keep on playing football, putting our best football for these last two games, and whatever happens, happens."

On whether the Patriots' gameplan was effective at neutralizing the Broncos' pass rush
"Every team game plans against me. I'm still able to make it happen. The Patriots are one of the best teams in football, but we've made it happen before. We've just got to make it happen again. We'll see those guys, whether it's the playoffs or next year, we'll see them again and we'll be ready to go."

On the Broncos no longer controlling their own playoff destiny
"I just thought about it just now. All I can really just control is these two games. We've got two big games ahead of us, the Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. Divisional games, rivalry games for our fans, for our organization and for each other, and we've got to put our best football forward."


On his muffed punt
"No matter what the score is, it's a big thing. You try to make tough plays to help your team win football games and unfortunately it didn't go that way for me."

On what happened during the punt
"It was just a short punt. I think it was a bad punt on the punter's part, so I tried to get up there and fair-catch it and save us a lot of field positions rather than letting it and maybe roll 20 yards down the field. It's a tough play that I've got to make."

On the defense giving the offense opportunities to score
"As an offense, we want to put points on the board. That's part of being a professional, being able to do that. Our defense played great, holding [Patriots QB Tom] Brady to 16 points. We need to do a little better on our end."

On offensive struggles in the second half
"We've got to go back and look at that. We moved the ball pretty well in the first half. We missed some opportunities to get in the endzone. We've got to execute offensively in the second half."

*On going no-huddle to spark the offense early in the game *
"That was part of the game plan going into the week. I think we executed that well in the first half. We've just got to continue that."

On the what the Patriots defense did to slow down the offense
"Nothing changes. Each possession we go out there with the same mentality to move the football down the field and put points up on the board. That's part of being a competitor. That's why I love playing at this level. We have to take advantage of opportunities to move the ball and get in the end zone no matter what defense we go against." 


On his thoughts of the game today
"We're just going to go play football and deal with the results. I feel like we all played tough. That's all we could do."

On Patriots QB Tom Brady
"We don't fear Brady. We aren't scared of Brady at all, so we're going to line up and play just like he's any other quarterback. We're going to prepare and play just like he's any other quarterback. That's what we feel like we did today."

On getting put in a hole with two first-half turnovers
"The turnovers will definitely kill you, no matter who you're playing for or what the situation is. If you have two early turnovers like that, it'll definitely put you in a hole."

*On the team being frustrated *
"That's not really going to take us anywhere though. Just being frustrated and beefing with the offense. That's not going to get us anywhere. We're going to ride. We're going to stick together and we're going to go play Christmas night."

On how important the final two games of the regular season are
"They're huge. It's been huge for the last five weeks. It just gets bigger and bigger."

On the Broncos being in desperation mode
"Sometimes you lose in desperation mode and sometimes you win. Hopefully we'll win this week."

*On the Broncos veterans keeping the team together *
"It's up to the leaders on the team. The leaders on the team have got to keep the morale good in the locker room. Most of the people follow what we do, so I'll make sure we're straight. The older guys on offense, the older guys on defense, they see us vibing and know we're all good. The [young guys] are pretty much going to do what we do."


*On the offensive struggles *
"I don't know. I guess we're beating ourselves. We had a couple penalties, a couple drops. That's the main thing. If you get behind early in the game, then you have to try to change up the game plan."

On whether the team is frustrated
"There's no frustration right now. It's tough that we weren't able to put points on the board. We only got a field goal. We were able to move the ball a good amount in the first half, but still weren't able to get points. It's not frustration. It's just trying to figure out how to get better."

On the final two games being must-wins
"We've been saying that for the past four weeks. It's the same thing. Nothing changed. We try to win every game we play. We're going to go back to work and see what happens."

On what changes the offense needs to make
"Nothing's got to change. We've got to take care of the ball and don't turn the ball over."

On the slow start to the second half
"I could have made that play on the deep-ball on the left side, then it would have totally been a different game. We would have been in scoring range. That's one play you could say would have changed the whole game. There were other plays out there that we've got to do better at as a whole group."

*On the offense's potential *
"I know we're capable of doing it if we didn't have turnovers. The defense did a great job of holding them to 16 points. That's amazing because three of those points they got were on a muffed punt. Another, we had a turnover in the red zone. I think they scored on that drive, too. There's no reason to be frustrated now because if you stay frustrated, it's going to go into next week. It's about getting better now."

On the success the offense had when it went no-huddle
"They didn't expect it. We were able to do it last week and move the ball. That's been one of our best things this season, the no-huddle. We did it early, but we couldn't get any points."


*On containing Patriots QB Tom Brady *
"We were sticking to guys, making him inaccurate with his throws and showing different looks. I don't even think we hit him much in the first half, but we rattled him a lit bit just by our looks and disguises. He was just off a little bit today. I don't know. It worked, though."

On if the Broncos' backs are against the wall in the final two weeks
"I think we always fight, regardless. We've just got to keep fighting, keep fighting. That's all we've got to do. We've had these type of situations in the past. It's the NFL. Anything can happen, but we've got to win first and take care of ourselves."

On why he's optimistic the Broncos can make the playoffs
"Just the guys we have, especially defensively. There's no quitting on this side of the ball. We're 100 percent, all the time, trying to help this team win."

On the Broncos' frustration level at this point in the season
"When you kill yourself with two early turnovers [and] you're not putting points up, it's hard to win games. Point-blank, period. That's what we've been doing the last few weeks and you see we've got two [losses] on that side of the column."

On limiting the Patriots' offense
"We played great. I looked up in the first half and he [Brady] had like zero passing yards. I had never seen that before. I couldn't believe it, honestly. But we've got to finish. I think he ended it with [200-] something total."

On if he felt the defense needed to create a turnover in the second half
"We always feel that way. We always feel that it's our job and it's our duty to go out there and get the ball back. We just couldn't do it today. We had a couple of opportunities, we got a couple balls on the ground, but [the Patriots] recovered them. That's just how the day was for us."

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